Kline and Cravaack part of committee to hash out defense bill

WASHINGTON – Two Minnesota Republican House members have been appointed to the conference committee delegated with working out differences between the House and Senate Pentagon authorization bills.

John Kline and Chip Cravaack will be just two members of the 100 member conference committee that’s split between both parties and both chambers of Congress. Kline, who’s also the chairman of the House Education and Workforce Committee, serves on the House Armed Services Committee. Cravaack isn’t a member of the Armed Services Committee but a large number of “outside” members are also included on the conference committee because of the broad scope of the defense bill.

Both Kline and Cravaack have a serious interest in military issues. Kline spent 25 years in the Marine Corps while Cravaack was educated at the naval academy and served as a helicopter pilot.

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    Kline is a natural since he is a long-standing member of the HASC (House Armed Services Committee) but I believe that Speaker Boehner is playing politics with some of his other choices. OK, he dropped down on the HASC seniority ranks to pick-up Alan West (R-FL) but he is a career military guy, but then he also picked Bobby Schilling (R-IL-17) who has no military service but is in seat that is facing redistricting questions and is being targeted by the Dems.

    Targeted seats in 2012 may be the key here … not only is Cravaack’s seat in the mix, but so are first-termers Ann Marie Buerkle (R-NY-25) and Joe Heck (R-NV-03) as well as Dan Lungren (R-CA-03).

    Getting a seat on the Conference Committee can provide a windfall of campaign contributions from the military industrial complex.

    In the end, won’t most of the decisions be decided by Party Managers, so does it matter who is on the Committee …. unless the conferee has an “issue” that he is committed to … the fight may be spending in Virginia or Florida (West has an advantage whereas Boehner did not select Scott Rigell (R-VA) from the HASC so that may be a clue).

    Regarding Cravaack, it will be interesting to see what happens with funding for the Institute of Peace which he wants eliminated … yet, with the Institute of Peace on the ground in Libya, that may pose a problem.